Netherlands great Rob Rensenbrink has died aged 72, the KNVB have confirmed.

Rensenbrink starred for Anderlecht for nine years at club level while playing a key role for the outstanding Oranje national side of the 1970s, earning 46 caps.

The winger started in the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals - both defeats - and no Dutch player has been involved in more goals (six goals, four assists) in the competition's history.

A former team-mate of Johan Cruyff with the Oranje, Rensenbrink finished second in the Ballon d'Or voting behind Franz Beckenbauer in 1976 and third two years later as Kevin Keegan took the top prize.

He was also named in Pele's FIFA 100 in 2004, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers.

Anderlecht posted on Twitter on Saturday: "Thank you, Robbie. In our purple hearts forever."

France will target Zinedine Zidane to replace Didier Deschamps when the World Cup-winning coach departs, FFF president Noel Le Graet revealed.

Real Madrid head coach Zidane has been linked with the France post previously, but he returned to the Santiago Bernabeu last year.

Meanwhile, Deschamps, in charge of the national team since 2012, last month signed a contract extension to stay in his role through to the 2022 World Cup.

The France boss has championed his former team-mate as a future coach of Les Bleus, though, and chief Le Graet is also keen.

"The day Didier decides to leave or his contract is not renewed, if Zidane is available at that time, he will be the man for the job," Le Graet told Canal+.

That opportunity could come as soon as 2022, as Deschamps' position beyond the Qatar World Cup is uncertain.

"There is Qatar," Le Graet said. "Didier will be there and then, maybe afterwards, I don't know."

Deschamps and Zidane won the 1998 World Cup together as players, before the former Juventus coach led his country to a second success two years ago in Russia.

Zidane won three consecutive Champions League titles in his first stint as Madrid coach, later returning when the LaLiga giants were struggling last year.

Germany's 1966 World Cup goalkeeper Hans Tilkowski has passed away aged 84, with Geoff Hurst and his former club Borussia Dortmund leading the tributes.

Tilkowski played in the famous World Cup final between England and West Germany at Wembley in 1966, in which Hurst scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win for the hosts.

Hurst's second goal, which came in the 101st minute following a 2-2 draw in normal time, remains controversial to this day, as it was unclear whether the ball had crossed the line.

On Monday, Dortmund confirmed Tilkowski, who spent four years at the club between 1963 and 1967, winning the DFB-Pokal and the European Cup Winners' Cup, had died on Sunday after a long illness.

Hurst, England's hero of their only World Cup triumph, led the tributes to Tilkowski on social media, posting on Twitter: "Very sad to receive a call earlier to let me know that Germany's goalkeeper from 66 World Cup, Hans Tilkowski, has died.

"Terrific player for his club, Borussia Dortmund, and country and a very fine man, I very much enjoyed the time we spent together over the years.

"Sending kindest thoughts especially to his family, very touched that they called to let me know, and sincere condolences to all his friends and fans. Very sad indeed."

Li Tie has been appointed as the new coach of China's national team, the Chinese Football Association has confirmed.

He replaces Marcello Lippi after the veteran Italian quit last November following a defeat to Syria in World Cup qualifying.

Lippi's second spell lasted just six months and Li will now be charged with leading China towards Qatar 2022.

His first match in charge will be against the Maldives on March 25 with China lagging eight points behind Group A leaders Syria, although they have a game in hand.

Li was part of the China squad that qualified for the 2002 World Cup, their only appearance at the tournament to date.

As a player, he featured for Everton in the Premier League and was in caretaker charge of China at December's EAFF E-1 Football Championship, where they lost two of their three games.

The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) has confirmed it will appeal a four-year suspension handed to the country by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Earlier this month, WADA banned Russian teams and athletes from competing under the country's flag at global sporting events – including the 2020 Olympics and 2022 World Cup – over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

RUSADA was given 21 days to appeal the suspension, and the organisation has now confirmed it will take its case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Should the sanction stay in place, individual Russian athletes will still be able to enter global competitions under a neutral flag, as was the case for 168 Russians at the 2018 Winter Olympics when the country was banned.

The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020.

Stanislav Cherchesov's side have qualified for the finals, where St Petersburg is one of the host cities.

Russian president Vladimir Putin had previously suggested the country would appeal the ban, suggesting the sanctions were "political".

Martin Peters, who was part of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup on home soil, has died aged 76.

The midfielder scored England's second in a 4-2 final win over West Germany at Wembley, joining West Ham team-mate Geoff Hurst – who famously grabbed a hat-trick in a thrilling game that went to extra time – on the scoresheet.

Peters had helped the Hammers lift the European Cup Winners' Cup the previous year and spent over a decade with the London club, eventually leaving in 1970 after over 300 appearances.

His departure to Tottenham made transfer history, as he became Britain's first £200,000 player in a deal that also saw Jimmy Greaves move in the opposite direction.

Nicknamed 'The Ghost' for his ability to get into scoring positions unnoticed, Peters lifted the League Cup twice with Spurs, with a UEFA Cup triumph in 1972 sandwiched between those triumphs.

He also played for Norwich City and Sheffield United, where he had a brief spell in charge in 1981, and made 67 appearances for England, scoring 20 goals during his international career.

"It is with profound sadness that we announce that Martin passed away peacefully in his sleep at 4am this morning," a statement from Peters' family, released via West Ham's website on Saturday, read.

"A beloved husband, dad and grandad, and a kind, gentle and private man, we are devastated by his loss but so very proud of all that he achieved and comforted by the many happy memories we shared. 

"We will be making no further comment and kindly ask that the privacy of our family is respected at this extremely difficult time."

Vladimir Putin believes Russia has grounds to appeal the four-year ban handed to them by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), a suspension he suggested had "political considerations."

WADA announced on Monday that Russia would be banned from competing at international sporting events for four years, with the country unable to field teams under their flag at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo or the 2022 World Cup.

Individual Russian athletes will still be able to enter global competitions under a neutral flag, as was the case for 168 Russians at the 2018 Winter Olympics when the country was banned.

WADA's International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020, for which they are one of the host nations.

Russia have been given 21 days to respond to the sanctions proposed by WADA, which relate to tampering with data obtained from a laboratory in Moscow this year, and president Putin suggested his country will be lodging an appeal, while also stating his belief that the ban is a political punishment, rather than a sporting one.

"First of all, we need to analyse this decision. Here is the obvious part, which I can see immediately. For example, there are no complaints to the National Olympic Committee. If there are no complaints, the country must be able to take part in competitions under the national flag, according to the Olympic Charter," Putin told a joint news conference following a Normandy format summit, in quotes reported on the Kremlin's official website.

"This means that this part of the WADA decision contradicts the Olympic Charter. Therefore, we have good reason to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"There are also some other arguments, but first our experts and lawyers should analyse everything so that we can talk with our partners competently. However, I believe that the main thing, and everyone seems to accept it, is that punishment must be individual and based on the acts committed by an individual.

"Punishment must not be collective, that is, applied to the persons who have no connection with a given crime. Everyone is aware of this. I believe that the WADA experts are aware of this as well.

"But if they take decisions on collective punishment, I think this is a reason to believe that these decisions do not seek to keep sports clean but are based on political considerations, which has nothing to do with the interests of sport and the Olympic Movement."

FIFA has made contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to clarify how Russia's ban from major international sporting events applies to football.

On Monday, WADA's Executive Committee endorsed a recommended four-year ban for Russia, with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) declared non-compliant again over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

The suspension means athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games.

It would also appear to prevent Russia from entering the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, although WADA's International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Stanislav Cherchesov's side will be free to compete at Euro 2020.

However, the Russian Football Union said it was hopeful football would not be impacted but it was waiting to hear from FIFA.

FIFA is yet to reveal its stance on the suspension but has confirmed to Omnisport it is in contact with WADA and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

"FIFA has taken note of the decision taken by WADA Executive Committee today," a FIFA spokesperson said.

"FIFA is in contact with WADA and ASOIF to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football."

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the suspension, which would see its case referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Jonathan Taylor, chair of the Compliance Review Committee that recommended the sanction, told a news conference: "It is the event that decides the world champion that is covered by the ban."

However, Taylor acknowledged each sport would be assessed on a "case-by-case basis".

"Let's be clear about the totality of this package. It's a four-year package and relates to a number of different things," he said. "In terms of participation, the standard is clear.

"There will be no flag at the events that are covered. There will not be a Russian flag and athletes will not be competing as representatives of Russia.

"The details from sport to sport will have to differ because some are team sports, some are individual sports. There is going to have to be a case-by-case basis.

"Nevertheless, what is important to note is that the standard says it is under the control and approval of WADA to ensure appropriate and standardised enforcement.

"That may, if there is a CAS case, be taken to CAS so it can see and endorse it itself.

"Can we be definitive now in every case as to what it will mean? No, but the standard is clear. They will not be there as representatives of Russia."

WADA president Craig Reedie said in a statement the body had delivered "a robust response".

"Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial," he said.

Other concerned parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), can also appeal to CAS if RUSADA chooses not to.

An appeal from the IOC, another Olympic committee or an international federation - such as FIFA - would have to come within 21 days of RUSADA accepting WADA's decision.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) is hopeful Russia's four-year ban from international sporting events will not impact their potential participation in the 2022 World Cup.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant again at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday.

A WADA panel had recommended the ban over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

Athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games, while Russia's place at the World Cup in Qatar is also in jeopardy.

FIFA is yet to reveal its stance on the suspension, but the RFU is optimistic Russia will be present in Qatar if they are successful in their qualification campaign, while it is keen for hosting opportunities in football also to be unaffected.

The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020, with St Petersburg acting as one of the host cities.

"The RFU has not yet received an official FIFA position by decision of WADA," a widely reported statement read.

"We closely monitor compliance with the anti-doping policy and hope that there will not be any restrictions on the part of FIFA for our teams, as well as the organisation of events or competitions in Russia."

RFU honorary president Vyacheslav Koloskov – formerly a vice-president of FIFA – is "firmly convinced" there will be no issues for the national football team.

"Will we go to the World Cup under our flag? I still have to go there, but I can't say anything about the team," Koloskov told Championat. "There is no FIFA reaction yet.

"We must carefully discuss this topic, but I am firmly convinced that these prohibitions will not affect football. And at the European Championship, we will definitely compete under our flag."

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has welcomed WADA's decision and adds it hopes any appeal process is swift with the Olympic Games in Tokyo just seven-and-a-half months away.

"We welcome today's decision to declare RUSADA non-compliant, and the decisive action by WADA's Executive Committee (ExCo) to impose four-year sanctions on Russian athletes and support personnel," UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said. 

"This was the only possible outcome that the WADA ExCo could take to reassure athletes and the public and continue the task of seeking justice for those cheated by Russian athletes.

"We know however that this is not necessarily the end of the matter. If RUSADA chooses to appeal this decision to CAS [the Court of Arbitration for Sport], this must be carried out with minimal delay, especially in light of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 

"We welcome the clear and detailed communication from WADA today [Monday] which is vital in helping to maintain confidence in the global anti-doping system."

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the suspension, which would see its case referred to CAS.

Other concerned parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), can also appeal if RUSADA chooses not to.

An appeal from the IOC, another Olympic committee or an international federation would have to come within 21 days of RUSADA accepting WADA's decision.

Plans for a joint British and Irish bid to host the 2030 World Cup are taking shape, according to Football Association of Ireland (FAI) official Noel Mooney.

The encouraging results of an English-led feasibility study have given rise to optimism over a successful joining of forces.

According to reports, the proposal would see Wembley host the final with matches to take place in Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow and various English cities.

There is ample time for further logistical assessments as FIFA has outlined plans to select the winning bid in 2024.

"The feasibility study is positive and there's a sense that the right thing to do is go forward," FAI general manager Mooney told The Times.

"This bid is out on the front foot and very well led by the guys from the English FA who gave a very strong presentation.

"It's a chance to get a really credible bid and hopefully win it.

"I'd be very surprised if there's not a very credible bid from Great Britain and Ireland."

England's FA mounted failed attempts to host the tournament in 2006 and 2018, which went to Russia.

FIFA could be inundated with multiple joint bids as Morocco consider aligning with Algeria and Tunisia, while Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay plan to take the game's marquee event to South America.

Marco Silva may be denied the chance to manage in another Merseyside derby.

Everton chiefs will reportedly begin the week with frank talks over the under-pressure Portuguese's future and could choose to sever ties.

The Toffees are due to head to Anfield on Wednesday, fresh from the late 2-1 loss to Leicester City that left the 42-year-old hanging on by a thread.

 

TOP STORY – SILVA ON CUSP OF EVERTON SACK

After close to a season and a half in charge, Everton boss Silva could be relieved of his duties on Monday.

Various UK newspaper reports indicate his position will be discussed at a meeting of executives two days out from the midweek clash with bitter rivals Liverpool.

Silva took charge in May 2018 and guided the Goodison Park outfit to eighth in his first season, but results have soured this term.

Everton have lost eight of their 14 Premier League fixtures and sit just above the drop zone.

ROUND-UP

- Kylian Mbappe has left Paris Saint-Germain waiting for an answer on contract discussions as he prefers to focus on the season at hand, says TF1 programme Telefoot.

- Serie A champions Juventus have started scouting emerging Brescia centre-back Andrea Cistana and will be closely monitoring his performances in December, according to CalcioMercato.

- Goal-shy Milan are preparing to celebrate their 120th birthday on December 15 and hope to mark the occasion by confirming the capture of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, claims Corriere della Sera. The Rossoneri have scored 13 times in 14 league fixtures this term.

- The English and Irish football associations are set to go ahead with a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup following an encouraging feasibility study, reports The Times.

- Celtic are tracking 21-year-old Ivorian midfielder Ismaila Soro, says the Daily Record. Soro is contracted to Israeli side Bnei Yehuda.

Marcello Lippi has resigned as China head coach after taking responsibility for a 2022 World Cup qualifying defeat to Syria.

China remain in the hunt for the third round of AFC qualification, having thrashed Guam and the Maldives while drawing with Philippines, but they were beaten 2-1 by Group A leaders Syria on Thursday.

Zhang Linpeng scored an own goal 14 minutes from time to settle the match, leaving Lippi dismayed by both the result and the performance, swiftly announcing his departure.

"I don't want to talk about this game," he told a news conference.

"A team should give everything on the pitch. The tactics of the head coach should be carried out. If the player is afraid of losing the game, then there is no fighting spirit, desire, guts.

"It is my responsibility, the head coach's responsibility – although we defeated Guam and the Maldives. But the team we played against today is better, more coordinated and more organised than us. 

"My annual salary is very high, and I am fully responsible for this loss. Now I declare that I have officially resigned."

Veteran coach Lippi, who guided Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, had only been appointed China boss for a second time in May.

Lippi was coach from October 2016 to January 2019, before returning when replacement Fabio Cannavaro ​– his World Cup-winning captain – promptly left.

Brazil legend Pele believes Lionel Messi is the most complete player on the planet and one of "two or three" on par with the greats of previous eras.

The former Santos forward and three-time World Cup winner named Barcelona captain Messi, Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar as the select few deserving to be discussed as the world's best.

Messi, 32, and Ronaldo, 34, have long dominated the game's most coveted individual awards but are reaching the latter stages of their highly decorated careers.

Selecao star Neymar became the most expensive player in history when he moved from Barca to PSG in 2017, but for Pele there is a clear standout among the trio.

"I think of Leo Messi," he told Gazzetta dello Sport when asked who he would most like to play alongside.

"He is a skilled player, gives assists, passes, scores, dribbles well. If we were in the team together, the opponents should worry about two players, not just one! Today, Messi is the most complete player."

However, when balancing the leading players of today compared to those of the past, he lamented a perceived lack of true stars.

"Once, you found two or three in every country with a great football culture," the 79-year-old said.

"Eusebio, Simoes, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Maradona, Garrincha, Didi. How many did I say? There were so many.

"Today we have two or three in all. Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, I would say Neymar, who in Brazil has not yet managed to become a great figure."

That would change if Neymar inspired the country to glory at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which will mark two decades since the South American nation's most recent triumph.

"I hope that at the next World Cup he is in good physical condition," Pele said.

"People criticise him, I even did it a few times, but we forget that he is a product of ours, of Santos. We always want the best for him. I talk about him often with his father.

"Technically, he is an excellent player."

Luis Suarez welcomed Barcelona's search for a new striker despite the threat it could bring to his starting spot.

LaLiga leaders Barca have been linked to Lautaro Martinez, Erling Haaland and Carlos Vela as they seek to strengthen Ernesto Valverde's attacking options.

The club failed to bring Neymar back from Paris Saint-Germain during the close season, leaving the squad light on competition for natural centre-forward Suarez.

The 32-year-old has scored six goals in eight LaLiga starts this season but knows he will not always be able to perform at the highest level.

"There will come a time when my age will not allow me to live up to what Barcelona needs to compete," Suarez told Uruguayan publication Ovacion.

"But as long as I can, as long as I have the strength, giving me competition is much better.

"That they are looking for or want to bring another number nine is nothing strange, it is the reality of football.

"It will be better for me and better for the club, because it will feed competition, and it will be better for the future because the club can prepare a player with the help of all the great players at Barcelona."

Suarez joined Barca from Liverpool in 2014 and is now in his sixth season at Camp Nou.

The former Ajax forward plans to continue his career until at least the 2022 World Cup, which would be his fourth appearance at the tournament.

"I hope so," he said. "I am really convinced of that, yes."

Suarez is part of the Uruguay squad for the upcoming international friendlies against Hungary (November 15) and Argentina (November 18), his first involvement with the national team since the Copa America in June.

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